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Do I need an architect?


Moore House
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Hi guys,

 

I am doing some planning / prep into self build and now I have a rough idea of what I'd like to build, I started researching architects.

But then reading on here, I started to wonder if I actually need one or whether I can save money by just using something like a house designer? I'm not looking to build anything super crazy.

I'm planning to build at Graven Hill in Bicester and have worked out that I could fit my build onto the smallest plots they do (main house would be max 80 m2 plus basement max 32m2).

I haven't actually reserved a plot yet but have started planning on roughly that basis.

 

In terms of build decisions (need to do more research but initial thoughts):

I've read that ICF build system is good for basements so I think I would use that for the main structure and SIPs for the roof, but I haven't ruled out going full PassivHaus dependant on budget, which I think means SIP's for the whole thing?)

Vinyl siding classing

Concrete roof tiles

Aluminium windows, doors, pocket sliding interior doors

Timber stairs

Underfloor heating

Unsure of flooring - maybe quarry tile

Heat pump

Solar panels

Unsure on smart features - worth it?

 

In terms of room layout (dimensions subject to change depending on exact plot):

Top floor - Bedroom and ensuite (4m x 4m), Studio (4m x 3.125m)

Ground floor - Lounge (4m x 3.5m), Kitchen (4m x 4m), Porch (1m x 1m), Utility room / Conservatory (2m x 4m)

Basement - (Gym 4m x 3.5), Hot tub/ sauna/ shower/ toilet (3m x 4m)

Other - Lift servicing all floors as well as stairs

I have a rough idea of layout too

 

Is it worth planning in such detail or does some stuff have to be left until later?

Is £1500-£2000 per m2 still a reasonable ballpark build cost figure? I would have limited involvement - just hire a main contractor / project manager

Does anyone have any recommendations for builders in and around Oxfordshire? I guess architects / home designer it doesn't matter about location.

 

If anyone has any other suggestions or if it would be helpful to get more info from me, please let me know.

I'm just getting started on my self build journey and there's so much I don't know / probably haven't thought of ?.

 

Cheers,

Chris.

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We didn't use an architect for the design stage, however we do have an architect now to conduct stage sign offs who did give the plans a once over when he came of board. 

 

8 hours ago, Moore House said:

Is £1500-£2000 per m2 still a reasonable ballpark build cost figure? I would have limited involvement - just hire a main contractor / project manager

Imo, that is too little based on your plans and involvement.

 

I have completed a lot of the works myself and project managed. We'll come in around £1450-1500 per sqm. We also live in a much cheaper part of the country (Argyll) in terms of labour costs compared to Oxfordshire when trades have been needed. I'm sure others will pitch in with views, but I'd say £2500 per sqm would be a better estimate, especially considering builder shortage at the moment. Now I have been through most of the process myself, £1500 with a builder is a thing of the past.

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Quick answer is No you don’t need an architect 

But for around a £700-1000  I would bring in a STructual engineer 

 

We came in at £815 m2 two years ago on very difficult ground 

and hoped to come in around a £1000m2 for our next 

But with most things doubling That figure is likely to be more like £1500m2 

For  340m2 build with large garage and workshop As with our first build Shopping around will be key 

Also a much better ground than last time 

 

I think also the size of your build has a big impact on on the cost per m2 

Your survey fees Conections fees etc Will be the same for a large house as a modest house 

 

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2 hours ago, djcdan said:

We didn't use an architect for the design stage, however we do have an architect now to conduct stage sign offs who did give the plans a once over when he came of board. 

 

Imo, that is too little based on your plans and involvement.

 

I have completed a lot of the works myself and project managed. We'll come in around £1450-1500 per sqm. We also live in a much cheaper part of the country (Argyll) in terms of labour costs compared to Oxfordshire when trades have been needed. I'm sure others will pitch in with views, but I'd say £2500 per sqm would be a better estimate, especially considering builder shortage at the moment. Now I have been through most of the process myself, £1500 with a builder is a thing of the past.

 

@djcdan Thanks for your reply.

Did you do the initial design yourself or did you bring someone other than an architect in?

Thanks for your thoughts on build costs, that's good to know at this stage. Hopefully when I come to build, there won't be such a builder shortage (couple of years).

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@nod Thanks for your reply.

 

43 minutes ago, nod said:

Quick answer is No you don’t need an architect 

But for around a £700-1000  I would bring in a Structural engineer 

 

Thanks, I will look into structural engineers

 

44 minutes ago, nod said:

I think also the size of your build has a big impact on on the cost per m2 

Your survey fees Connections fees etc Will be the same for a large house as a modest house 

 

 

OK cool, so looks like I need to up my build cost estimate for my modest house

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